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Alpha Core keyboards

When you open Alpha Core for the first time you will be asked to choose a keyboard layout. There are seven different keyboards to choose from and it’s easy to switch to a new one at any time.

Screenshot of the Alpha Core Welcome screen from initial start up
  1. Core Word keyboard
  2. QWERTY standard
  3. QWERTY Large Cell
  4. AEIOU Large Cell
  5. Frequency Scanning keyboard
  6. Frequency Split keyboard
  7. 2-Hit Keyboard

Each keyboard gives you access to everything you need, including a chat area, letters to spell out words, word and phrase prediction cells, and quick links to pre-stored phrases.

Screenshot of the keyboards, in order, Core Word, QWERTY standard and QWERTY Large Cell
Screenshot of the keyboards, in order, AEIOU Large Cell, Frequency Scanning, Frequency Split and 2 Hit

Changing your keyboard

Changing between keyboards is quick and easy to do and you don’t need to learn a whole new system each time you do it. Go to Settings, and select Change Keyboard, and choose from one of the seven keyboards.

Core Word keyboard

The Core Word keyboard gives you quick access to the most commonly used words, known as core vocabulary, alongside a qwerty keyboard where you can type the words that aren’t already listed.

Screenshot of the Alpha Core Core vocabulary keyboard

Core vocabulary

Core vocabulary refers to the words we use all the time, making up much of what we say. Words like “do”, “go”, “it”, “like”. These words can be used flexibly, in different situations, with different people, to talk about different things. The Core Word keyboard provides you with some of the most common of these core vocabulary words.

Many of the core words offer different variations and tenses when you select them. When you select “need” for example, you will also be offered “needs”, “needed” and “needing”.

Prediction and chat history

There are two rows of prediction in this keyboard:

Word prediction to help you to quickly complete the word you are typing or suggest the next word.

Chat history where you can select phrases which are suggested based on things you have already said.

Tip: This is a good keyboard for people who have been using a paper-based Alpha Core board with a laser pointer, stylus or finger. It is most appropriate for those who use a mouse, head tracker or Touch screen.

QWERTY keyboards

There are two QWERTY keyboards to choose from:

Screenshot of the Alpha Core QUERTY standard keyboard

QWERTY Standard is a basic keyboard with word prediction and chat history in the two rows above the letter keys. The + icon at the top gives you access to more features including Editing, Mute, and an attention alert.

Tip: This keyboard works with all access methods and is suitable for a keyguard (a clear shield with holes that fits over the keyboard to help you avoid accidental selections).

Screenshot of the QUERTY Large cell keyboard

QWERTY Large Cell has bigger cells than the standard QWERTY keyboard. The row of prediction cells above the keyboard also doubles up as your chat history.

AEIOU Large cell keyboard

AEIOU Large Cell is an alphabetical keyboard with longer cells than QWERTY Large Cell. In this layout, word prediction appears in a vertical column down the side of the keyboard, which you can also use to switch to chat history.

Screenshot of the AEIOU Keyboard

Tip: You may want to use this keyboard if you have been using an AEIOU low-tech communication board, or are using a switch to scan the keyboard.

Frequency Scanning keyboard

The Frequency Scanning keyboard is designed to speed up switch scanning for people who use word prediction.

Letters are arranged by those that appear most frequently in the first 1-2 characters of a word. The most common letters are in the top left of the keyboard, where they are quickest to reach.

Screenshot of the Frequency Scanning keyboard

Tip: When using prediction, you typically only need to type the first 1-3 characters for the
word you want to appear.

Split Frequency keyboard

The Split Frequency keyboard has 28 cells on the screen and is designed for people who use eye gaze and find it challenging to target smaller cells. The keyboard is split across two grids, with the most commonly used letters appearing on the first grid, and less frequently used letters on the second grid.

Screenshot of the split frequency keyboard

The second grid is self-closing, so once you have selected a letter you will jump back to the first grid. You can use the Stay here cell if you want to choose another letter from this grid before jumping back.

2-Hit keyboard

The 2-Hit keyboard has 12 extra large cells, designed for people who are using eye gaze and have significant difficulty with targeting. This layout requires two selections to type a letter, but includes prediction cells to help speed up communication.

Screenshot of the 2 hit keyboard

As Alpha Core is designed to adapt with you as your access needs change, we anticipate that many users of the 2 hit keyboard will already have a large number of phrases in their Chat History which were spoken when using a different Alpha Core keyboard. Due to the space restrictions resulting from much larger cells, the Topics grids are not included with the 2 hit layout but you can still quickly access your previously used phrases from Topics or elsewhere using Chat History. To speak a stored phrase simply type the first few letters of a key word within it, then jump to Apps – Chat History and it should be there for you to select and speak.

The 2 Hit keyboard has been designed to enable the continued use of larger cell versions of the most popular accessible apps available elsewhere in Alpha Core including camera, email, SMS, Quick Messages, Alexa and Message Banking. From the Keyboard, select Apps to get to the above and also to Settings, Chat History, Communication Tips and to exit to Grid Explorer.

Tip: There are fewer cells on each grid in this layout, so some of the function cells are in different locations from the other keyboards. You’ll find backspace and clear by expanding the + icon. Space and full stop are found in the A-D grid, as well as the punctuation grid.

Last Revision: 26.07.2022